Christmas bin collections in the Ward will not be on different days from normal this Christmas, as Christmas Day is on a Saturday. Real Christmas trees will be collected from households over a two week period from Monday 10 January 2022. If you want your tree collected place it out on the 10th and it should be gone within a fortnight.
LET US KNOW IF THERE IS A GRIT BIN IN YOUR ROAD THAT NEEDS TOPPING UP.
Richard and Trish have worked hard to ensure that there are plenty of grit bins at strategic places in the Ward. We need to know if they need topping up with grit.
Yet again this year Sutton Council again offered residents and businesses 10kg of free grit per household/business to collect from the Household Re-Use and Recycling Centre in Kimpton Park Way. This year a booking system and a number of other changes had to be introduced to help the operation run safely and in accordance with Government guidelines designed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone visiting the site has to have a valid booking to be allowed access to the site and will need to show ID and proof of entitlement such as a Council tax bill. You can book a slot via the Sutton Council website.
LET US KNOW IF THERE IS A GRIT BIN NEAR YOU THAT NEEDS TOPPING UP.
Richard intervened at the meeting of Sutton Council on 22 November, expressing his concern at the Government’s failure to withdraw its White Paper on changes to the planning system, and the threats to responsible planning in Sutton that these proposals represented.
During his eleven years as a Councillor one of his main preoccupations has been the quality and impact of development in the Ward. The current planning system involves local consultation and provides Councillors with opportunities to oppose developments that are inappropriate. At present there are two sets of proposals for major blocks of flats and tower blocks in Brighton Road that raise problems, particularly related to parking.
We are both concerned that the Government’s proposals increase the targets for new housing to a level that would require intensification of development in suburban areas, reduce requirements for affordable housing and remove requirements for consultation with the local community in some circumstances.
It was found that the recent Liberal Democrat victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election was in part attributable to public concern over these proposals. We had hoped that pressure on the Government to have a re-think will succeed.
This is what Richard said in the debate on this issue at the Sutton Council meeting on 12 July:
“What is great about Sutton is good schools, low crime and its pleasant, green, suburban feel. That pleasant suburban feel depends on a robust development control system that responds to what our residents want. Local democracy and local consultation on planning proposals are vital to maintaining the key elements – good standards of building and design, and the protection of the street scene.
I can take you on a tour of planning mistakes in my Ward, Sutton South, that have occurred when local democracy has been over-ridden – when the remote Planning Inspectorate in Bristol has overturned democratic local decision. Now, we have proposals from the Government that would mean that in certain areas developers would get automatic consent to planning applications without there being any process of consultation with local people, the voices and opinions of local people removed from the process. This is at a moment, in Sutton South Ward, when we are grappling with two proposed major developments, tower blocks, along Brighton Road, but with the possibility that the views of local residents will not even be sought. These Government proposals will run a coach and horses through the local democracy elements of the planning system. They are a charter for developers to make large profits building slum housing, while ignoring and side-lining the views of the local community. This continues a process of undermining the local democracy aspects of the system, already undermined by the Government’s extension, over the years, of rights of permitted development. They are based on a view that sees, somehow, the requirement to consult the community as being a brake on necessary development. That is nonsense – what the planning system does is ensure acceptable standards are met. We want to retain a system that, while it has defects, lets local people have a democratic say on what is built locally. That is too important a right for us to lose. “
In 1988 the South Sutton Neighbourhood Association celebrated the tenth anniversary of its foundation by funding a bench in Cavendish Road close to Ambleside Gardens. Richard noticed that the bench was, after over twenty years of use and exposure to the elements, in a very sorry state. He took action to get the bench restored, with the plaque explaining the history of the bench moved to the new bench.
In support of our policies to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions, electric vehicle charging points are being fitted in lampposts in our Ward. The first locations are in Camborne Road, Stanley Road, Cedar Gardens and The Ridgway.
The photo shows the first vehicle that used the new charging point in The Ridgway. Given the policy to ultimately phase out petrol driven vehicles, a big and continuing expansion will be needed.
Sutton Council is working with Siemens to install Ubitricity lamp column electric vehicle charging points. Ubitricity lamp column charging points are compact and fit into the door of a lamp column. The aim is to deliver around 100 lamp column charging points in 2021. The aim of lamp column charging is to give residents the ability to easily charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the street where they live, especially if they do not have off-street parking or are unable to install their own home charging point. Installing residential charging points is important because a key barrier to people switching to electric vehicles is the concern around where they will be able to charge their vehicle.
These will be a new feature for Sutton, though they are now becoming commonplace on residential roads in other London boroughs and the numbers are increasing rapidly each year.
Lamp column charging points are most likely to be useful in roads with limited off-street parking (such as in private driveways), so priority is being given to locations where many residents park on the street.
Not all lamp columns are suitable for lamp column charging points. The lamp columns need to be “electrically suitable”, be positioned near the kerb and have enough internal space to fit the charging point. They need to be sensibly located so that a vehicle could safely park and charge next to the lamp column. The lamp columns also need to be made of metal, not concrete.
An “earth mat”, a small metal grid, is also installed in the footway next to the lamp column. This is to make the charging point “electrically safe” if there is a fault. The current parking restrictions in any street where there is a charging point will continue to apply and be unaffected by the charging point. There will be signs to indicate that the lamp column has a charging point fitted, though this sign will not prevent non-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles from parking next to the lamp column.
This is a major advance in our drive to promote electric vehicles and combat global warming.
Many of our residents use Warren Park, and the footpath between the railway lines has a real rural feel about it. A small area of Warren Park is protected by a wooden picket fence, to prevent the area being trampled. This is an area of chalk grassland, an important area for biodiversity which encourages some unusual plants and butterflies. Earlier in the year the fence was extensively vandalised and the area damaged by trampling (and dog poo). There was discussion, which we were involved in, about whether the fence should be repaired, replaced by sturdier fencing that would be more effective but unsightly, or removed, with the biodiversity area abandoned. Eventually it was repaired but within a few days it had been extensively vandalised again. It has now been repaired yet again and notices put on the fencing to try to explain the importance of the area and to appeal to the vandals to leave it alone. We are not sure what the impact is likely to be but hope for the best.
On Friday 15 October Richard joined residents of Sutton Court and Beauclere House (in Brighton Road) on a “walkabout” of the estate to look at issues the residents wanted to raise. The party was joined by Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) staff, including the estate manager and the Chief Executive of SHP. SHP manage the housing stock originally owned by the Council as social housing, but about half of the properties in Sutton Court have been purchased by residents under the “Right To Buy” provisions so are now rented out in the private sector rather than being social housing. The residents raised a variety of issues including surfaces that needed re-painting, guttering, garage roofs, faulty lights and notice boards that needed attention.
TOWER BLOCK PROPOSAL AT THE CORNER OF COPSE HILL AGAIN THROWN OUT
Developers have twice submitted proposals for a new tower block at the corner of Copse Hill, to be built after demolishing 2 and 4 Copse Hill, plus 52 and 54 Brighton Road. While housing is needed, we have opposed this development as – unlike Dunsfold Court and Leith Towers – it would have little green space around the site, and the parking provision proposed was inadequate, adding to parking pressures in the area. The block would be ugly, overbearing and a blot on the landscape.
Both proposals were rejected by Sutton Council and the developers appealed to the remote Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, thus seeking to overturn democratic local decision taking. We are delighted that the Inspectorate has again thrown out the proposals. They cite concerns over the overbearing character and appearance of the proposed block, a lack of outdoor amenity space (play areas and garden) and the mix of housing proposed (the number of small one bedroom flats). They rejected concerns about flooding and did not comment on our concerns over parking.
This may not be the end of the story so we will watch out for further proposals. We have as yet heard no more of a tentative proposal for a similar block almost opposite, a proposal for a five storey block for 36 flats with only 4 parking spaces, almost opposite, on the corner of Cavendish Road. Radical changes to planning arrangements were proposed in the recent White Paper on planning from the Conservative Government, proposals that in some areas would abolish these arrangements for comment on planning applications and lead to proposals being automatically agreed. Pressure from the Liberal Democrats, and our victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, where planning changes was an issue, seems to be forcing a re-think, but these proposals are still, as of now, Government policy. These Government proposals would remove the right of local residents to comment on planning applications, in some circumstances. Richard made a speech at Sutton Council on 12 July attacking these proposals, which undermine local democracy. See posts further down the site.
The panel is our opportunity for residents to discuss with the police the policing of Sutton South Ward. It met for the first “in person” meeting since 16 June 2019, on Friday 8 October at the hall at Christchurch, in Christchurch Park. There was a good turnout with about 20 residents attending. The police team was led by Constable Robyn Skivens.
The police reported that crime in the area remains low with, in the period since 1 July, just one burglary, 8 thefts of motor vehicles and 14 thefts from motor vehicles. There was a wide-ranging discussion covering issues including how to ensure people report crime, abandoned vehicles, e-scooters (their use other than on private land is unlawful), anti-social drinkers and the successful use by the police of Community Protection Orders. The likely impact on crime from having more people working at home was also noted. It was agreed that, while the Metropolitan police have had a bad press recently and the issues exposed by the Sarah Everard murder are of genuine importance and concern, in Sutton South the performance of our local police officers has been exemplary. The panel will meet again on 28 January.
Arif Syed is our newly appointed Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for the Ward and chaired the meeting. Arif lives locally. He is pictured in the Mayor’s Parlour with Trish and Richard.
Several residents of Copse Hill and Dunsfold Court have put to us the point that the parking bay reserved for motorcyclists outside Dunsfold Court is rarely used by motorcyclists, and that those with a motorcycle do not usually have difficulty finding somewhere off the road to park.
Consequently we have explored the suggestion that this be restored as a parking place for other vehicles, alongside the adjacent parking places, and this change will go ahead unless there is significant local objection. Please let us know if you have views on this.
We are aware of pressures on parking spaces in the area, which is one of the reasons we opposed the proposal for a new tower block with relatively few parking spaces at 2 Copse Hill. This proposal, twice turned down by the Council, is again with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol as an appeal.
We are also aware of a proposal for a further block of flats opposite, on the other side of Brighton Road, which was also deficient in terms of the number of parking spaces. This proposal is not yet the subject of a planning application and we are concerned about policies set out in the recent Government White Paper on planning that would, in some areas, lead to automatic consent to planning applications without a process of neighbourhood consultation. We will keep residents advised of progress.
The outcome means that there is little change to the situation in our Ward.
The main outcome is that changes to the S3 bus that might have affected our area have not been pursued, which means the S3 will still serve Cedar Road and Langley Park Road. Changes to the S4 route that affected our area are not implemented and it will still run to Overton Grange school and along Grange Road. We are pleased with this outcome, which means there will not be any detriment to services in our Ward, and points we put into the letter of representation sent by Sutton Council have been acted on.